One Week of Camp = How Much Laundry?

One Kid, 7 days = how many loads of laundry?

The answer should be three...but who knows it may be more.  I'm writing this as I get ready to drive out and pick him up after a week of fun.

There will be a load of whites.

There will be a load of colors.

There is be a load of "other" consisting of items that just don't make the other loads and/or might require "special" washing (as in the actual duffel bag that carried all his stuff or maybe the pillow that he used.)

There will be clothes that he never wore.  (Because you always pack extra...just in case.)  They will get washed too because some how they will end up damp and dingy.  No matter how many times I tell my son to separate his dirty and/or wet items (yes, he has a laundry bag just for that purpose and just about all the clothes that he takes to camp will fit in there), everything will get thrown in the duffel.  Including the hiking boots (that he will wear only once) which will be covered in camp dirt.  (Because hiking is a dirty job.  No doubt about that.)  Or the sunscreen and/or bug spray will somehow leak all over everything.

Packing up for camp may not be "fun" but it's certainly easier than unpacking at the end of the week.

Make the kid do it.  Good idea in theory, but here's how it works...

Get up and drive to get the kid (this takes about an hour).  Load kid and his belongings into the car.  Drive home.  Unload the car and immediately have the kid (and his dad) go upstairs to the bathroom for a shower. (Dad does a tick inspection...just because I bought bug spray that is to repel ticks doesn't mean he's used it or used it every day.)

While the kid is showering (and getting really clean for the first time in a week), all his "stuff" has been dragged down to the basement for a washing.  Usually I wash everything in cold water.  Not today.  Warm/hot water to kill whatever lurks inside the duffel.  With load 1 started, I will take the sleeping bag outside, unzip it and lay it out to air it.  (Once he is finished with his final week of camp, I will take it to the dry cleaners.  It is too big to make it into my washing machine and it gets fine care at the dry cleaners.  It has lasted 5 years and I would like it to last many more.)

By now the kid will be clean and in fresh clothes.  He'll want to eat.  (Because he's a tween boy and when he wants to eat he will EAT!).  By the time he's finished, I'll be on load #2.  

Maybe I should be getting him to help me, but I'm more interested in getting him to practice his trumpet (which he hasn't played in over a week) and getting him to do some of his summer reading.  (He's got two books and neither is an easy or short read.)  And somewhere along all of this, his friends from the block will show up.  It's been over a week and the next week he will be off to visit his grandparents (my parents) and attend marine science camp followed by another week with his other grandparents (my in-laws) as they take to the road and check out some Virginia history.  How can I ask him to do laundry when they come calling?  How much time left does he have to "just be a kid?"  As much as I would like some laundry help, being a kid is more important.  Hanging with friends is more important. All I can ask is that he put on some sunscreen and take his phone with him.  (It's just easier to find him that way vs the old walking around the neighborhood calling his name.  I'm sure it's much less embarrassing for him too!)

So he will go and play, as any child should and I will do the remaining loads.  And maybe even a load from the hamper. It's amazing how much LESS laundry I do during the week when he is away!  With the help of my husband, I will fold and put away his clothes; packing a few for our trek tomorrow to the shore.  (He won't need much; living most of the time in bathing suits and t shirts as he seines the bay and teaches his fellow campers about crabs, squid and jellyfish.)  Most of his shorts I will simply transfer to his suitcase (not to be confused with this duffel) as after a week at my parents he will be going directly to my in laws.  

Once he returns from that trip (in two weeks), the circle of life/cycle of laundry will begin again...


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